Select Page

Best-Selling Book by SAR Alumnus Challenges Traditional Narratives of Native America and Underscores the Achievements of Indians in Contemporary Culture.

Jan 29, 2019

A new, widely acclaimed book by SAR scholar alumnus David Treuer is challenging long-held views of the state of Native America.  The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, recently published by Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Random House, argues that Dee Brown’s famous history of Native American dispossession and genocide, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, perpetuates a mistaken impression of the situation of American Indians today.

Now, nearly a half-century after the publication of Dee Brown’s book, Ojibwe anthropologist and writer David Treuer takes readers on a lively journey into the resilience and creativity of Native America, offering a hopeful vision of American Indians’ future.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the fruit of David Treuer’s 2015 fellowship at SAR as a Katrin H. Lamon Resident Scholar. Each year, SAR offers residencies for scholars writing in the social sciences and related fields through our Scholar Programs. In the acknowledgments of his book, Treuer mentions his debt to SAR:  

The School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe housed me for five months. The writing began there and wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. The peace and quiet coupled with the energy of brilliant colleagues was indispensable (p. 457). 

Treuer’s reporting shows that Native Americans—on reservations, in cities, and in suburbs—are playing crucial roles in all aspects of our nation’s culture and economy. As the book’s jacket copy explains, “Treuer traces the rich, resilient and multi-dimensional story that Native people have been living over the past century, and adds new chapters to the story of American Indian creativity and resilience in our modern times . . . Timely and engaging, Treuer brings the deep past into contact with the evolving present.” 

Another SAR alumnus and former Lamon Resident Scholar, Ned Blackhawk of Yale University, recently reviewed Treuer’s book for the New York Times

“Through memoir, interviews and extensive reading,” writes Blackhawk, “Treuer counters the familiar narratives of invisibility that have so readily frozen America’s indigenous peoples. Interweaving stories from family members, the voices of policymakers and assessments of contemporary youth culture, the book introduces alternative visions of American history. The result is an informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait of ‘Indian survival, resilience, adaptability, pride and place in modern life.’ Rarely has a single volume in Native American history attempted such comprehensiveness.” Read the full review online…


David TreuerJoin David Treuer at SAR for a discussion on

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

Thursday, March 14, 2019

5:30 p.m.


Learn more and register in advance here.


Upcoming Events